At 11.00 a.m. on Christmas morning 2009, our neighbour who has been using our paddock to graze sheep decided to introduce himself. We have been in the current property for about six months and had asked the landlord to request the sheep graze to cease and desist letting his sheep into our field or paddock as they say in New Zealand. We entertained the sheep unwillingly for the last month. really the only way to get rid of them would have been to open the top gate and let them find their way out on to the road. I confess I thought about this for a whole three seconds before the whole drama of car crashes, human deaths, injuries and my already overburdened sense of guilt being multiplied and also the thought of being carted off to jail through not being canny enough to hire a lawyer to get me off with a fortnight's community service stayed my hand.
Anyway he dropped in to introduce himself and in the course of an unexpected interrogation on his part by wife while I sat dumb he revealed that he'd never been told by the landlord that his mob of sheep were no longer ovis non grata.
This was the first time in seven years we were having people - orphans
(hang on the cat's just been sick)
1st January 2010
Hello again and A HAPPY NEW YEAR to one and all. I realise wishing you ALL a HAPPY NEW YEAR is pretty culturally insensitive on my part given that Maori, Chinese, Mayan Civilisations (uh, any of you folks left out there - 2 years to go, eh?) keep different dates for their Hogmanay celebrations. Still we pass this way but once as I am fond of repeating to the wife until she taps me, in a meaningful way, on the head with the poker - and with that profound realisation I see, along with the unexpected shooting stars in my vision, that we cannot pass this way without treading on somebody's toes.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY EASTER ... where's the harm? Is it because the shops are shut? What? While we're all at church on Christmas Day, are the Mayans, Chinese, Hindus et al wandering round Belfast or New York, to take these two as representatives of the many International cities of Christendom, wondering why all the shops are shut? Can't get a pint of milk anywhere. Darn.
I was going to tell you what we ate on CHRISTMAS DAY which in our case was for the following persons - one Christian, three atheists, one Jewish person and a Greek (or a Grecian if you follow the utterances of George dubya Bush) of indeterminate religious affiliation.
The cat by the way is better - thanks for asking.
We had piles of stuff to munch on as it happens. There was an unusual trifle made by my wife - I've hidden the poker - containing rhubarb. Surprisingly it was delicious and the Grecian came back for more. He denied all knowledge of trifle so we told him that rhubarb wouldn't be a usual ingredient. We have not heard that he passed away due to a surfeit of rhubarb so that was a success story in so far as it keeps down the litigation suits to manageable figures.
What else? See, there's that flaming journo's curse of memory decay again. If you don't note things down at the time they're stashed somewhere out of reach in the brain or discarded as not worthy of storage.
I might remember later.
HAPPY NEW YEAR